Looking for a pet for Christmas? Check out shelter

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 5, 2014

If a purring kitty or tail-wagging dog is part of your vision of the perfect holiday, then plan to visit the Andalusia Animal Shelter for your new friend.

AAS will hold its annual “Home for the Holidays” Adopt-A-Thon on Dec. 19-20, and shelter manager Christin Ball said they are waiving many of the fees.

“We’re waiving all of the adoption fees,” Ball said. “The only charges will be are the spa-y/neuter and rabies at a reduced charge of $62. You’ll be getting an animal that is vaccinated, fixed, healthy and ready to go.”

Kayla Cleland, a shelter volunteer, and Ball said there are more benefits to owning a shelter animal than a purebred store bought one.

“There are way too many pets that need a home for people to go out and buy one from a breeder, when all that’s doing is bringing more unwanted animals into the world,” Ball said. “It’s always better to rescue than to buy. More times than not, you are getting a more healthy animal than you would from a breeder, and they’re more well rounded.”

According to the American Humane Society, there are millions of homeless animals waiting for a home each year, and there may not be a greater gift for a homeless animal than to have a family to love them.

“Shelter animals are more grateful,” Cleland said. “I love my shelter dog.”

“Every day in the state of Alabama, there are like 8,000 animals euthanized because of lack of homes,” Ball said.

When choosing a new pet, Ball and Cleland recommend doing research into the breed type.

“We probably get more purebred dogs than we do mutts,” Ball said. “People get them and realize how much work they are and dump them off. Especially the longhaired breeds, because of the upkeep.”

There are different types of breeds that are bred for a job or purpose, and Ball said if you don’t give them that job or purpose you’re going to have an emotionally unhealthy dog.

“So it’s important to get a dog that is the right fit for you and your family, don’t just get one that is cute,” she said. “There are pros and cons to every breed; it’s just about doing your homework.”

Ball highly recommends guardian-type dogs, like golden retrievers, shepherds, border collies, or labs, when there are young kinds in the family.

“Don’t do small dogs for small children,” Ball said. “Most small dogs are not kid-friendly.

“Poodles are really good with kids and they’re hypoallergenic, so it makes it great with people with allergies,” she said.

Ball said they work hard to pair the right animal to the right family, and they keep animals there long enough to know if there is any aggression.

“We’re like the Match.com for pets,” Ball said. “We match animals to the right owners.”

The adopt-a-thon will be located at the shelter at 101 Coliseum Ave. from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 19, and Sat., Dec. 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ball said the shelter will be open most of the day Friday to give people time to visit them after work, and will stay open longer depending on the amount of people that visit.

For more information, contact the Ball or Cleland at 334-222-8705.